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AidanWaggy
December 1st, 2010, 05:57 PM
Chapter 1: The most mundane of Chores


Watch duty. A pointless exercise. Dante Chambers lazily traced his M4 along the horizon, whilst tapping his foot impatiently. He hummed an unknown tune. Nothing had been seen for at least 3 weeks, but still, the Sarge was weary. Despite his slight annoyance, Dante was relaxed considering the circumstances – a small force of American Marines deep behind enemy lines, with an uncounted number of hostiles in the vicinity. If there even were lines in this war.

The sun glared down from above, causing rivulets of sweat to fall almost casually down the young private’s face, to evaporate as soon as they touched the torrid sand, which drank up any liquid with an unending thirst. The heat caused Dante to constantly fidget in discomfort, and it distorted the private’s vision so it appeared silhouettes of the enemy stood watching him from the sandy dunes which constructed the bleak landscape, waiting for him, beckoning him. Dante released his weapon once again to rub his eyes, and the image disappeared - he just sighed impatiently: watch duty was one of the more mundane chores - but it sure beat watching your comrades - your comrades- die in battle.


A gruff, grating voice behind him sounded, slightly surprising him, as the muscular Sergeant O’rein approached, his thick boots barely making a sound against the fair sand. He was a brute of a man - easily 6 foot, and every millimetre of which was covered in thick muscle, which he had no qualms with using. However, despite his brutal looks and sharp tongue, he was caring inside - even if he didn't know it. If you were to look to his face, the first noticeable feature would be his eyes - grey, and seemingly lifeless, the eyes of what could only be described as a born killer - which, to be brutally fair, was what O'rein was. The sergeant’s M16 was slung lazily across his broad shoulders, but the veteran kept his hand near the weapon at all times, as if it consoled him knowing that it was there. It gleamed as the sun's rays caressed the sand-coloured metal; the hours of polishing and keeping the weapon in perfect condition showing through.
"Watch time is up private" the Sarge growled bluntly, waving Chambers’ salute away with one hand, whilst he pulled out his hipflask with the other, before handing it to Dante. "Drink up" the tall man ordered, in his usual fashion of getting straight to the point, before continuing. "We already lost Smith to dehydration so far, and if it keeps up at this rate the heat will kill us - if those goddamn fuckers don’t that is". Between you and me, I think HQ has sent us on some sort of suicide mission"

O'rein scowled, the sun dancing off his bald head. Dante in silent agreement, and then took a long draught from the canteen - it was a suicide mission, three measly squads against an un-numbered amount of hostiles.
Hostiles. No-one had a name for them yet. The enemy, hostiles, 'them' - all unofficial names, but the only thing that anyone would call them. Probably because no-one wanted to call them what they really were.

The lukewarm liquid rushed passed the private’s parched lips, flowing down his throat and relieving some of the pain which the heat had brought, despite its unpleasant temperature. He sighed in content after finishing. Feeling renewed after his drink, Dante handed the steel flask back to O’rein, who drained the rest of the liquid. Both of the soldiers were young, but they looked at least ten years older – the 18 odd months of war had taken its toll on the two. The sergeant patted Dante on the shoulder as he left, and gave him an encouraging smile – months of fighting together had brought the men closer to each other, as was the effect of knowing that your life is in the hands of another man.

Dante turned back towards the encampment - looking forward to changing out of his perspiration soaked clothes and speaking to his girlfriend. He briskly marched the odd 50 metres, as his replacement walked to his post; talking to the sergeant, then standing and watching. Encampment was a creative overstatement - little more than just a few tents, Forward Camp Delta 9 was a pile of crap in all honestly, but it was home - for now. Dante walked towards his tent, pushing the canvas flaps aside. He reached across his back, and rubbed his sore shoulders with a sigh of both pain and relief, massaging the tense muscle – four hours of watch duty in the blistering heat in full battledress took a lot out of a guy. He pulled his helmet off, and scratched the black stubble that was his hair – military regulations were a bitch, and Dante sorely missed his long black locks which he had had just four years ago. Next, Dante rested his gun caringly atop his makeshift bed - so much love for something that many would consider just a tool. He had just begun removing his bulletproof vest, when his radio blared to life in the unmistakable tones of one of... them...




Ok, quick sidenote, this is about a year or so old, and I found it lying around on my harddrive, and have recently edited it (basically, rewrote it :P), anyways, brutal critiquing please ;)

Sam
December 1st, 2010, 06:32 PM
WARNING: Adult Language (Can anyone edit that into the title :\ I forgot)

Your wish is my command. ;)


Chapter 1: The most mundane of Chores


Private First Class, (unnecessary; the whole name is a title, as in President John Matthews, etcetera) Dante Chambers lazily traced his M4 along the horizon, peering down the sights, whilst tapping his foot, rather impatiently, to a tune which he hummed (You risk overloading your reader with this first sentence. For me, it's cluttered with too much information. Also, I can't picture him peering down the sights and lazily tracing his gun along the horizon. Watch duty. A pointless excercise. Nothing had been seen for at least 3 weeks, but still, the Sarge was weary. Despite his slight annoyance, Dante was strangely relaxed considering the circumstances – a small force of American Marines (Marines, the unit, is capitalised. Same as the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force) deep behind enemy lines, with an uncounted amount of possible hostiles. If there even were lines in this war.

(New topic = new paragraph)Rivulets of sweat fell almost casually down the young private’s face, only to evaporate as soon as they touched the torrid sand, which ate up any liquid with an unending hunger. The heat distorted Dante's vision, and it seemed like silhouettes of the enemy stood watching him from the sandy dunes which constructed the rather bleak landscape, waiting for him, beckoning him. Dante rubbed his eyes, and the image dissappeared - he just sighed impatiently: watch duty was one of the more mundane chores in the Army - but then, it sure beat watching your comrades - your friends - die in battle.


A gruff grating voice behind him sounded, surprising him slightly, as the muscular Sergeant O’rein approached, his thick boots barely making a sound against the fair sand. He was something of a (three words that don't really add anything to your sentence, instead cluttering it up) brute of a man - easily 6 foot, and every millimetre of which was covered in thick muscle, which he had no qualms with using. The sergeant’s M16 was slung across his broad shoulders, but the veteran kept his hand near the weapon, as if it consoled him knowing that it was there. It gleamed; the hours of polishing and keeping the weapon in perfect condition showing through. "Watch time is up private" the Sarge growled, then pulled of (out?) his hip-flask, before handing it to Dante. "Drink up" the tall man ordered bluntly, before continuing, "We already lost Smith to dehydration so far, and if it keeps up at this rate - if those goddamn fuckers don’t kill us that is, the heat will. Between you and me, I think HQ has sent us on some sort of suicide mission"

(New paragraph again)O'rein scowled, the sun dancing off his bald head. Dante nodded silently in agreement, and then took a long draught from the canteen - it was a suicide mission, three measly squads against an un-numbered amount of hostiles.

Hostiles. No-one had a name for them yet. The enemy, hostiles, 'them' - all unofficial names, but the only thing that anyone would call them. Because no-one wanted to call them what they really were.

(The same)The lukewarm liquid rushed passed the private’s parched lips, flowing down his throat and relieving some of the pain which the heat had brought, despite its unpleasant temperature. Feeling renewed after his drink, Dante handed the steel flask back to O’rein, who drained the rest of the warm liquid. Both of the soldiers were young, but they looked ten years older – the 18-odd months of war had taken its toll on the two. The sergeant patted Dante on the shoulder as he left, and gave him an encouraging smile – months of fighting together had brought the men closer to each other, as was the effect of knowing that your life is in the hands of another man.

Dante turned back towards the encampment - looking forward to changing out of his perspiration-soaked clothes, (unnecessary) and speaking to his girlfriend. He briskly marched the odd 50 metres, as his replacement walked to his post; talking to the sergeant, then standing and watching. Encampment was a creative overstatement - little more than just a few tents, Forward Camp Delta 9 was a pile of crap, in all honestly, but it was home - for now. Dante walked towards his tent, pushing the canvas flaps aside. He reached across his back, and rubbed his sore shoulders with a sigh of both pain and relief – four hours of watch duty in the blistering heat took a lot out of a guy. He pulled his helmet off, and scratched the black stubble that was his hair – military regulations had become stricter recently (military regs in relation to hair have always been strict. No longer than 1/4-inch-thick at all times except during war-time). As Dante reseted his gun caringly (you rest a lover's head "caringly" atop something; you rest a gun "carefully") atop his makeshift bed - so much love for something that many would consider just a tool - his radio blared to life in the unmistakable tones of one of... them...

Good start. It shows much potential. Remember that your readers are going to be, for the most part, versed in the world in which you're writing. Little inconsistencies like not knowing what guns Marines use (you haven't made this mistake, obviously, but you get where I'm coming from) to stating something that isn't true -- this can break a reader's concentration and take them out of the piece. When you have their attention, you want to hold onto it. That's why, especially in thrillers, your word-choice and sentence structure is so important. There's a hard balance between finding a voice and overloading a reader with too much information -- something Clancy made the mistake of doing in a lot of his later works.

Your first sentence is gripping and engaging, but you're trying to squeeze too much information into it. Keep it short and sweet at the beginning. Set the scene, engage the reader, get their attention, but do it within the first paragraph. I think maybe you're trying to do it in the first sentence.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Well done.

AidanWaggy
December 1st, 2010, 06:42 PM
Your wish is my command. ;)



Good start. It shows much potential. Remember that your readers are going to be, for the most part, versed in the world in which you're writing. Little inconsistencies like not knowing what guns Marines use (you haven't made this mistake, obviously, but you get where I'm coming from) to stating something that isn't true -- this can break a reader's concentration and take them out of the piece. When you have their attention, you want to hold onto it. That's why, especially in thrillers, your word-choice and sentence structure is so important. There's a hard balance between finding a voice and overloading a reader with too much information -- something Clancy made the mistake of doing in a lot of his later works.

Your first sentence is gripping and engaging, but you're trying to squeeze too much information into it. Keep it short and sweet at the beginning. Set the scene, engage the reader, get their attention, but do it within the first paragraph. I think maybe you're trying to do it in the first sentence.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Well done.
Thanks - whilst you were evaluating, I edited it alot (silly tendancy of mine, i kept making minor edits.) I agree and thank you for all your points - except for the last one, I was trying to show that Dante almost loves his gun, to show how much he cares about it, I used caringly. But anyways, I'm editing my version in my word processor, I'm also messing around abit with it, I'll repost/edit when I'm done :)
EDIT: Not much changed, but ta-da!
EDIT... again :P : I forgot to add, nice critiquing, and thanks for poring over this for the good 10/20 minutes that you did :)

Olly Buckle
December 1st, 2010, 07:00 PM
WARNING: Adult Language (Can anyone edit that into the title :\ I forgot)It was there when I came, but good to see a new member who knows the rules, welcome to the forum. Anyway, on to the piece, I am not going right through it , dinner is nearly ready, but I'll do a bit.

Private First Class, Dante Chambers lazily traced his M4 along the horizon, peering down the sights, whilst tapping his foot, rather impatiently, to a tune which he hummed.You have who where and what he is doing but first sentences need to be a tight as possible, consider,"Private First Class, Dante Chambers lazily traced his M4 along the horizon, peering down the sights, tapping his foot and humming." It is all there except the impatience and the tune , which are implicit in the tapping and humming.

Watch duty. A pointless excercise. Nothing had been seen for at least 3 weeks, but still, the Sarge was weary This means tired, I think you want "wary". Despite his slight annoyance, Dante was strangely relaxed considering the circumstances "relaxed for the cicumstances" would say it, strangely is , again, implied – a small force of American marines deep behind enemy lines, with an uncounted amount number of possible uncounted said it hostiles something more needed "In the vicinity" for example, the hostiles are not with them, that's how it reads now. If there even were lines in this war. Rivulets of sweat fell almost casually down the young private’s face, only this word adds nothing and by doing so detracts from the immediacy to evaporate as soon as they touched the torrid sand, which ate drank up any liquid with an unending hunger thirst, there is also a contradiction between evaporation and absorbtion, I would suggest sustituting "dissapeared" fror "evaporated. The heat distorted Dante's vision mirages are not really in the vision, maybe say caused mirages, and it seemed like correctly, as though, but the whole construction is a little clunky, how about "appeared to be" in place of "stood" silhouettes of the enemy stood watching him from the sandy dunes which constructed the rather leave ot qualifiers like this, definite is always more effective bleak landscape, waiting for him, beckoning him. Dante rubbed his eyes, and the image dissappeared - he just here too sighed impatiently: watch duty was one of the more mundane chores in the army forget this too, you already told us that it is the army - but then, and now, and every time, another unwanted word it sure beat watching your comrades - your friends - die in battle.

Sorry I have to go, the table needs laying, this reads well, you asked for brutal crit. that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what's there, maybe you can apply some of the precepts yourself, good luck.

AidanWaggy
December 1st, 2010, 07:26 PM
It was there when I came, but good to see a new member who knows the rules, welcome to the forum. Anyway, on to the piece, I am not going right through it , dinner is nearly ready, but I'll do a bit.

Private First Class, Dante Chambers lazily traced his M4 along the horizon, peering down the sights, whilst tapping his foot, rather impatiently, to a tune which he hummed.You have who where and what he is doing but first sentences need to be a tight as possible, consider,"Private First Class, Dante Chambers lazily traced his M4 along the horizon, peering down the sights, tapping his foot and humming." It is all there except the impatience and the tune , which are implicit in the tapping and humming.

Watch duty. A pointless excercise. Nothing had been seen for at least 3 weeks, but still, the Sarge was weary This means tired, I think you want "wary". Despite his slight annoyance, Dante was strangely relaxed considering the circumstances "relaxed for the cicumstances" would say it, strangely is , again, implied – a small force of American marines deep behind enemy lines, with an uncounted amount number of possible uncounted said it hostiles something more needed "In the vicinity" for example, the hostiles are not with them, that's how it reads now. If there even were lines in this war. Rivulets of sweat fell almost casually down the young private’s face, only this word adds nothing and by doing so detracts from the immediacy to evaporate as soon as they touched the torrid sand, which ate drank up any liquid with an unending hunger thirst, there is also a contradiction between evaporation and absorbtion, I would suggest sustituting "dissapeared" fror "evaporated. The heat distorted Dante's vision mirages are not really in the vision, maybe say caused mirages, and it seemed like correctly, as though, but the whole construction is a little clunky, how about "appeared to be" in place of "stood" silhouettes of the enemy stood watching him from the sandy dunes which constructed the rather leave ot qualifiers like this, definite is always more effective bleak landscape, waiting for him, beckoning him. Dante rubbed his eyes, and the image dissappeared - he just here too sighed impatiently: watch duty was one of the more mundane chores in the army forget this too, you already told us that it is the army - but then, and now, and every time, another unwanted word it sure beat watching your comrades - your friends - die in battle.

Sorry I have to go, the table needs laying, this reads well, you asked for brutal crit. that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what's there, maybe you can apply some of the precepts yourself, good luck.
Well man, nice critique - I fully appreciate it, and have edited accordingly. Hopefully that reads better. Perhaps you can get back to it sometime? :)

AidanWaggy
December 2nd, 2010, 08:48 AM
First part can be found here (http://www.writingforums.com/fiction/116663-desert-recon-chapter-1-most-mundane-chores-adult-language.html)



Chapter 2: Ambush

Dante almost shat himself as the voice spoke. He leapt towards his bed, and grabbed his assault rifle from where it was rested, then scanned left and right, looking for hostiles, and becoming even more nervous when he couldn’t find any. He picked up the handset, and tried to contact someone - anyone - but he was met only by white noise. It was then that Dante realised that gunfire could be heard. His heart quickened, just as he'd begun to calm.

He paused, trying to be rational about it, trying to think of plausible explanations - a practical joke perhaps? Of course it wasn't. Stop trying to kid yourself... you signed up knowing this wasn't going to be easy he told himself. There was the sound of movement outside – and a shadow could be seen through the thin canvas of the tent. Dante levelled his M4 quickly, readying to shoot. He turned the safety off, and held the gun tightly to his shoulder and as he traced the silhouette his finger moved to the trigger and he began to put pressure on it. The shadow moved closer to the entrance of the tent, then opened it...

In stepped Pvt Daniel Connors – the squad’s newest addition. He was red in the face, and horror was in his eyes. He leant on his thighs heavily, and took a few deep breaths before speaking "Chambers, sarge told me to come and get you – sorry about this, I know you were supposed to be restin'... but we got trouble. Rendezvous at point delta in five, O’rein and the rest are waiting". He grimaced, then just whispered "Good luck mate", before turning to the 'door', peeking out both ways, then dashing to the next tent, chased by the sound of machine gun fire.

Dante grabbed his helmet and clipped it on, grimacing as the sweaty interior once again met his skin, and then he grabbed as many magazines as he could carry – they would most probably need it. He paced towards the entrance to his tent, then grimaced again, and prepared to make a run for it, taking a deep breath before running out of the tent.
His calves burned with the effort, and he lost his footing several times in the treachourous sands. Bullets whizzed over his head, and the noise was deafening. The rattle of machine gun fire, with the occasional crack of a sniper rifle made a crescendo of war, unescapable. He saw a few of his fellow Marines return the fire, slowing for just a moment; their last mistake. They were instantly hammered by the enemy, leaving only bloody messes where people used to be. As he ran, Dante noticed the opposition getting more and more accurate – if he didn’t get to Delta soon, he wouldn’t get there at all.
Dante quickly grabbed a grenade from his belt whilst pulling the pin, then turned sideways, and threw the grenade. It was a true throw, and the grenade sailed in a beautiful yet deadly arc, before landing in the midst of the horde. Dante heard cries of surprise before the explosion drowned them out.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

Dante slowed as he approached point Delta, taking deep breaths as he stopped. The rest of the squad were assembled there, except Smith, Woods, and Thomason. "Poor guys" Dante thought – Smith had been found half roasted during his watch duty, and would still be in the med bay; Woods and Thomason were two of those who tried to resist the enemy whilst he ran. Dante couldn't help but think that he should've helped, and the guilt almost overwhelmed him before he wrestled it into submission.
He quickly surveyed the collection of grim faced Marines to take his mind off the guilt – he had fought with them all before, and they were the sort of team who would make him feel safe even if he were at the edge of hell. "Fall in Chambers" Sergeant O’rein growled, clutching his M16 tightly.
"We got a problem. Somehow these fuckers managed to find us, and now they got us, I don’t think they’re letting go." A smattering of curses filled the air as all the marines swore - each one looking jumpy – they had obviously heard the radio message too. Thinking about the message, a horrific realisation came to him – he’d forgotten his radio! Dante hoped that he wouldn’t need it, although if he did need it, he probably wouldn’t be able to reprimand himself – he’d be dead.

Just as the sergeant opened his mouth to speak again, there was the crack of a sniper rifle. One of the squad jerked backwards as the first shot hit, sending a light spray of blood everywhere. The first crack was followed by another, hitting the same man again – this time in the head. Chunks of flesh and bone flew everywhere as the soldier slumped to the ground. "Crap" Connors cried, as the sergeant issued the order to take cover.
The marines backpedalled, spraying short bursts at a wave of hostiles who had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, taking cover behind a nearby vehicle. Bullets hit the steel shell of the vehicle, causing sparks to fly wildly.
Dante stood up, and fired into the direction of the bullets, spraying rounds everywhere, the recoil kicking against his arm. He heard a scream of pain as one of the enemies fell. To his right, he heard Connors throwing up violently – it was the poor kid’s first time in any real action. A rocket twirled above from an RPG, leaving a plume of exhaust, but missing the vehicle, as the Marines and the ominous foes traded fire.
O’rein swore, impatient, and grabbed a SAW off one of the frightened-looking Privates. He stood up, and unloaded a clip into the air. The squad seemed rallied by the Sarge's sudden act, and they all stood in unison, and unloaded clip after deadly clip, until the sand was stained with gore, and a wall of bodies blocked the sun from view. The shooting stopped - it was over, for now.

"Police the wounded, single shots only" O'rein grunted, and gestured for the marines to move "Today would be nice!" He barked. Two of the marines lay wounded, blood seeping from multiple bullet wounds to their torsos. They were goners. Dante could only watch as his fellow squaddies tried in despair to help the injured, but to no avail. They faded into everlasting sleep within moments - the colour leaving their skin, before their eyes closed for the last time.


Sidenote: Should I merge these first two 'chapters' to make one? I'm thinking my first chapter is a little short, so merging these would make it better.

len_ryuka
December 4th, 2010, 04:52 AM
Just read both chapters. The first one was better I'd say, I don't particularly like the second one, mostly because it's somewhat... how can I put this... "Call of Duty"?

I'm not going to talk anything about grammar/punctuation/vocab, since the other guys seem to have taken care of that, so I'll focus on the plot/conceptual stuff.

First of all: Like you said, these 2 chapters should be 1 chapter. If you're going to make this into a book of 300 pages, you'll have 150 chapters with 2 page chapters.

First chapter:
First thing that stuck out to me: Why is Dante carrying an M4 and the Sarge and M16?
Second thing that struck: "It gleamed as the sun's rays caressed the sand-coloured metal" The military don't actually make M4/M16s with Tan coloured(That's what you call it, Tan colour) receivers. So if the rifle is supposed to be tan coloured, then it's most likely painted with flat paint, which, of course, is not "sand-coloured-metal", should be "sand-coloured-paint"
Third: "the hours of polishing and keeping the weapon in perfect condition showing through. "
When soldiers on field clean a weapon, they don't clean the exterior, it's all about the piston system on the upper receiver for M4/M16s, that's where the gun jams the most. They couldn't give less of a "shit" about what it looks like from the outside.

The second chapter:
I'll say this first: People don't die THAT fast in war(I'm talking Afghanistan or Iraq here), especially when the 2 marines before Dante threw a grenade. And throwing the grenade into the horde of them is just... so video game like.. not even the untrained Taliban is stupid enough to cluster together just to take the grenade in the face with their beloved buddies.

Second: That "Sniper suddenly shooting" thing is somewhat cliched for me(I think anybody who's watched war movies/played war games would agree). And one of the smartest sniper strategy is not to kill the first man, but to wound them so that they can't move, which as a result, their buddies have to come get them while exposing themselves to the sniper's fire. Which allows the sniper to pick off way more than he could just by killing the first guy he sees.

Anyways that's all I got to say for now. I'm looking forward to seeing more, but not if the combat is as cliched as it is now.

Here's what I wrote, it's similar to yours.

http://www.writingforums.com/fiction/116739-hardcore-combat-hazelmere-warning-violence-language.html

Draxia
December 4th, 2010, 05:00 AM
"He hummed an unknown tune. Nothing had been seen for at least 3 weeks, but still, the Sarge was weary. Despite his slight annoyance, Dante was relaxed considering the circumstances – a small force of American Marines deep behind enemy lines, with an uncounted number of hostiles in the vicinity. If there even were lines in this war."

No, focus your characters. Don't inundate me with 3 different characters in the first 5 lines of your narrative. Concentrate on one character and go from there. Dig deeper for your characters, give them life beyond what you are writing. Don't stagnate them in the first 3 lines.